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Parker on the Porch — zipper

Adding Pockets to an ITH Zipper Bag -- HACK THE BAG!

Posted by Anna Pritchett on

Continuing our series of hacks, today I'm going to show you how to add pockets to POP zipper bags. You can add pockets to the inside or outside of the bags with nothing more complicated than a folded piece of fabric. You will need to do a little bit of math. But it's easy! I promise. Pinky swear!

First, let's look at the stitch map for your design of choice. You remember how to read a stitch map, right?) I'm going to be running one of my favorites from the Top Zip Set of 9 Zipper Bags, the 5x8 size.

ITH in the hoop machine embroidery top zip zipper bag purse pouch

From the stitch map, we can see that the actual dimensions of the bag are 8.37" wide by 5.95" high. I know that I will cut my fabric pieces for the outside and liners to be about 1" wider and 1" longer than those dimensions because having an extra half inch outside the stitch lines on each side works for me. You may prefer adding more. There is no way I'm going to measure out exactly 9.37" and 6.95" though! I will cut the fabric 9.5" wide by 7" tall.

I'm also going to look through the stitch steps. I don't want this bag to have the front hand strap, so I will skip Steps 6-8. I note that the Back stitches down at Step 9, and the Back Liner (last step) is Step 10. 

Now I need to decide what size to cut my pockets. Let's stitch the placement on the stabilizer.

The arrow is pointing to what will be the center of the zipper. My pocket cannot be taller than that. I need an extra half inch for seam allowance. It's approximately 5.5" from the center zip line to the bottom of the bag. (Warning: here comes the math. Deep breaths. You can do it!) 5.5" + .5" seam allowance = 6 inches. I need to double that to fold my pocket in half, so 6" x 2 = 12 inches. My pocket piece needs to be 9.5" wide by 12" tall. I told you it was easy!

Cut your pieces and add interfacing. This linen-y, denim-y fabric is very lightweight. I decided to add interfacing to the entire length of the pocket, but if your fabric is sturdier, you may only want to interface half of the pocket. Fold the pocket in half to be 9.5" wide by 6" tall. Press the fold of your pocket pieces very well. This will be the top edge of your pocket. 

I decided to add a line of topstitching to the top edge of the pockets for extra detail. You could add a strip of bias tape, ric rac, lace, or simply press the edge! If you decide to topstitch, check if your sewing machine came with a blind hem foot. For my Brother machine, it is the R foot. (Other feet that work similarly for topstitching include edgestitch foot or stitch in the ditch foot.) I increase my stitch length to 3.5 and use the R foot for an even line.

You can see the guide/blade that keeps the fabric edge lined up for an even stitch line.

Prep complete! We have outer pieces (interfaced), lining pieces, and pockets (interfaced, pressed, and topstitched). We are ready to assemble the bag!

When you get to the step in the tutorial that tells you to open your zipper and add optional hardware, this is the time to add your pockets. 


For a pocket on the *inside* of your bag, place the folded pocket on the BACK or UNDERSIDE of your hoop with the lining pieces.

Here is the BACK/UNDERSIDE of my hoop as it looks when I take it off the machine after running Step 5 to secure the Front Liner along the sides and bottom. Specific step numbers vary based on the design and options being stitched, which is why it is important to check the stitch map before you begin sewing.

I'm going to align my inside pocket with the top edge of the Front Liner piece. You can place it as high as the center zipper (approximately the yellow line) for a taller pocket OR lower than the Front Liner edge for a more shallow pocket. If your fabric has a directional pattern, place it with the "right" side facing the Front Liner because that side will be seen the most when you unzip the bag.

Tape your pocket down securely. I used my last piece of Micropore medical tape on another project, and I tried to get away with using lots of blue painter's tape.

If you only wanted a pocket on the inside, you would add the Back piece to the front of the hoop and run the next to last step of the design. 

I am also adding a pocket to the outside Back of the bag, so I need to place that before I place the Back piece on my hoop. Check the directionality of the fabric. I don't want my fancy ladies standing on their heads on the back of the bag, so I need this flipped the other way. (If I wanted to add a pocket to the *front* of my bag, this directional placement would be correct.)

I have the "right" side of my pocket facing the hoop. You can place the pocket as high as the center of the zipper, but that would be difficult to keep flat and straight during stitching. I opted to line it up just below the front outside edge. Make sure your pocket is straight, and secure it to the stabilizer.

Place your interfaced Back piece on top of your pocket, face down toward the hoop as directed in the tutorial that came with your zipper bag design. Place your hoop on the machine, making sure your pocket piece is smooth on the underside of the hoop. Run the Back tackdown step. For the design loaded in my machine, the Back tackdown is Step 9.

 Behold the beauty of the double outline. 

Flip to the BACK/UNDERSIDE of your hoop. Remember how I advised you to make sure the inside pocket was nice and smooth when you clipped your hoop back on the machine? Well, mine was not. No matter how experienced you are, you're going to make mistakes. And it's fine! Just take out the stitching on that little corner and run the step again.

I carefully snipped the stitching where the pocket wadded up, smoothed out the pocket, dug through the trash for some medical tape, and ran Step 9 again. Much better! This is what your inside pocket should look like after running the Back tackdown step.

Add your Back Liner piece according to the instructions, run the Back Liner tackdown, and your stitching is complete!

I prefer using cutaway on my lined bags, so once I get the back turned through the hole, I need to cut out the stabilizer.

I use my trusty 4" Gingher embroidery scissors to start and go around the curves and corners, then switch to a seam ripper. Put the red ball of the seam ripper against the zipper tape so you don't slice through your zipper!

Close the turning hole with your method of choice (mine is Thermoweb Peel N Stick Fabric Fuse Tape that seals with pressure), open the zipper, and turn your bag right side out. Have a momentary freak out when you think you put your pocket on upside down. Realize that you simply need to turn the pocket to be on the back of the bag. Poke out all the corners carefully.

Back pocket view with the ladies standing upright after all!

And of course the bag needs a coordinating charm! I swapped the snaptab on the Cat Eye Snaptab for an eyelet from the Add-on Pack (FREE with code from the POP Facebook Group). I attached the charm with a 1" Spring Hook/Lanyard Pull

Supply list:

We can't wait to see your pockets! Get to stitching, and come share your creations, ask questions, chat, and look for inspiration in the POP Facebook Group

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Bean Stitch vs. Satin Stitch

Posted by Anna Pritchett on

Two of POP's most popular designs, the original Clutch and Clutch 2.0 bags, come with a Bean Stitch applique option as well as a Satin Stitch applique option.

We frequently get posts in the POP Facebook group saying, "Help! I'm making the Clutch 2.0 bag, and my design has only 9 steps instead of 11. Where is the satin stitching?!" So let's take a closer look at the design options.

Here's the unzipped Clutch 2.0 folder:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


When you open the highlighted folder, you'll see two sub-folders:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


Many people simply open the first folder, select their design, and send it to the machine, not realizing which option they've chosen. We are going to open the stitch map for the Bean Stitch option. (New to stitch maps? We talked about what they are and how to read them in another blog post.) Select the stitch map for the desired size.

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


You'll notice that the 5x7 Bean file contains 9 steps instead of 11. The applique tackdown is a triple stitch or "bean stitch" instead of the satin you may be expecting. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


Here is an example of the Clutch 2.0 with Bean Stitch applique:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


The Clutch 2.0's other option, the Satin applique, has 11 stitching steps. Step 7 is the blanket detail, and Step 8 is the traditional satin applique stitch. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


Here's an example of a completed Clutch 2.0 with satin stitch applique:

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


If you loaded the Bean Stitch file by mistake, don't panic! Stop your machine after Step 7. Go back to your computer, open the main folder for the design, and open the Satin sub-folder. Select the same size that you have started in the Bean format. Send that file to your machine. Make sure it's oriented the same direction as the initial file and lines up with the existing stitching. Forward through to Step 7 of the Satin file, and stitch the Step 7 blanket detail right over the bean stitch. Finish your clutch as directed in the tutorial. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


The original front-zip Clutch design also comes in both Bean and Satin stitch applique options. 

ITH embroidery zipper bag pouch clutch


If you would like to see the original Clutch being stitched, check out the Panda Kisses video tutorial of this design. Join the POP Facebook group to see a (formerly live) video tutorial of the Clutch 2.0. Links to videos are in the pinned Announcements area of the group! 

And if you ever wonder where POP gets the supplies used in the design listing photos, click through the blog's Supply List archives.

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What is a Stitch Map?

Posted by Anna Pritchett on

If you've been in embroidery a while, you may remember life before fancy PDF tutorials. Back in the olden days, we had to rely on the stitch map files. These files are helpful to know how to read even with the existence of full tutorials. You can print the stitch map and add your own notes as you stitch the file so that you remember what you did in your own words.

Let's look at the Seaside Top Zip Clutch Zipper Bag.

This is the inside of the main folder once I unzip the file and add it to my POP folder.


Here is the inside of the Seaside Top Zip folder. What a mess! The files are all jumbled up. 


Click on the Type tab and the folder will sort itself by file type.


The stitch map files will have a BMP or JPG file extension. In this case, they are BMP type files. Let's select the 5x7 size. 


Here is the 5x7 stitch map. When you click on it to open, your computer will open it in whichever default photo viewing app or program you've designated. In the upper left corner of the stitch map, you will see the file name, the stitch count, the exact size in inches and millimeters, the location at which the design begins and ends in the hoop, the number of colors and thread stops, as well as the date the file was saved.


The rest of the stitch map is literally a *map* to what your machine is going to stitch. The steps are illustrated and numbered. Step 1 is almost always going to be a placement stitch when you are doing an ITH or in the hoop design. 

In the recent tutorials, there is now a "cheat sheet" on page 5 or 6. If one is not included in the design, you can create your own. I print only this page of the tutorial, and I will add  notes to remind myself of important details, such as where to add personalization, and when to open the zipper. 

When you look at the stitch map for the Seaside Top Zip Clutch Zipper Bag before sewing, you will realize that the fabric you put down first at Step 3 will be the "shell" of the design, and the bottom shape is an applique added later. There's no need to guess what is going to happen next in any POP design (or any designer whose files include stitch maps). Taking a few minutes to review the stitch map will save you time and frustration! 

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Football Stadium Banner, Kitty Top Zip Pencil Bag, Donut Bow and Bow Monogram Snaptab Supplies List

Posted by Jenny Chesnick on

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Top Zip Splash Bags & School Charms Supply List

Posted by Jenny Chesnick on

Top Zip Splash Bags & School Charms Supply List

ITH in the hoop zipper bag
Hello POPSters! We have another fun week of projects for you.  This week we have the new School Charms! Perfectly sized for all your pencil bags and backpacks. 
We've also launched the new Top Zip SPLASH bag set.  Use them for the pool or use them for school! 8 sizes for all your needs. 
7x11 size shown here.  These also coordinate with our Pencil top zip cases. 
Finish off the look with the new Mini Script Monogram Charms. 
Supplies Used:

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